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Local projects among $47.8M in state-approved funding

Alex Doty • Jun 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Several area parks and recreation projects received support from both the state House and Senate in votes to fund Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund projects.

“Everyone should be excited about these development projects that will give residents and families access to even more of our amazing natural resources,” said state Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, who voted for the project funding. “Not only will our local residents have access to the trails and parks in these projects, but it will bring more tourists to our area to take in our splendor and contribute to the local economies.”

The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved spending $47.6 million for 27 land acquisitions and 87 development projects proposed by the trust fund. That comes a week after the House voted on a similar measure.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund uses dedicated money to pay for the development of parks, trails and other recreational facilities across the state. The funding is comprised of revenue from the lease of state land and is designated on an annual basis in partnership with local governments for the projects.

The approved legislation will help fund three projects in Grand Haven: work at Waterfront Stadium, Mulligan’s Hollow and Grand Haven State Park.

The Waterfront Stadium project would receive $280,000 to aid in the city’s replacement of the current facility, which is slated to begin later this year. The existing stadium is to be removed and replaced with a new outdoor amphitheater that will include a grassy area for public use and events, expanding the site’s year-round use.

The Mulligan’s Hollow project will also receive $280,000 to create a 134-space parking area to add to the existing 125 spaces.

The state park will see $300,000 to fund a new restroom building along the Grand River channel. The current building sees very heavy use and has exceeded its lifespan, state officials say.

Elsewhere in Northwest Ottawa County, $200,000 will be used to help the development of a 2-mile stretch of the Spoonville Trail, from 120th Avenue and Leonard Street to the Village of Nunica.

The Senate’s approval on Thursday ends — for now — a dispute over some senators' attempts at funding even more recreation projects as part of the allocation process. Senators had previously added an additional $7.7 million for 43 projects on top of the 114, but the House and Gov. Rick Snyder's administration opposed the move. A legal opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette is pending.

Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, expects the trust fund to recommend about 20 more projects in August.

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